“I’ve gone through several periods where I wasn’t running at all. About three-and-a-half years ago, I started getting an itch to do it again. The loop around my neighborhood is just over a mile, and I always had in my mind that whenever I wanted—until I was like 45—I’d be able to break five minutes in the mile. I hadn’t run a step in earnest in a year-and-a-half or so. I decided one night—I was going through some family problems and just a super stressful time in my life—that I was going to go for it tonight. I’m going to run a mile as fast I can around the neighborhood and see where I’m at. I went out there, did a warm-up lap, stretched a little bit. For 1.1 miles, I ran about 5:50, so nowhere close to sub-five. It was a super humbling moment—I don’t think I was proud of my running at that point, and I had no reason to be. It was like, Oh my gosh, if you gotta do this, you’re gonna have to really invest in it. That moment was a turning point for me. I realized that I’m not getting any younger, and I’m only going to have this time of my life to take a crack at finding out what my potential is. After that, I started taking training pretty seriously. Not even six months later, I ran 1:13 for a half marathon.”
“My darkest running moment was from my sophomore year during track season. I had a really bad ankle sprain. I was working out and going over the barriers, and on the water jump on one of the intervals, my foot was just twisted there, and I came down on it and sprained it really bad. Everyone thought it was broken, but luckily it wasn’t—it was just a very severe sprain. So I had to go through about six to eight weeks of rehab. I was in a walking boot, on crutches. Eight weeks later was when I was able just to start jogging, very light jogging. During that month-and-a-half to two months, it was pretty frustrating because I was just out of the loop, and it was hard to see the end of the injury. What kept me seeing through it all was continuing to be on the rehab and making sure I was doing everything I possibly could to get better and as fast as I could. I would try to put myself into team situations or events and just talk to people as much as I could. Without running, without practice every day, you don’t get that aspect as much. … Coach [Mike] McGuire is very supportive, and he’ll tell you to listen to your body and make sure you’re not overdoing it our pushing too hard. He doesn’t want [an injury] to get worse, obviously. He’s very encouraging, and he believes in you, which is the biggest thing that helps you get through something like that.”
“I definitely want to do a half marathon officially in a race. We do [13.1 miles] in a long run every week, but I’d like to do a half marathon race. After that, I want to do a marathon. Eventually, I would like to do at least one triathlon and one Ironman. This is kind of the sequence of events that I eventually want to get done. I want to do all those things at least once, and then after that maybe see if I like one particular thing or the other. I definitely still want to have that competitive edge when collegiate running is done.”
“I’m a high school senior, I’ve narrowed my college decision down to Michigan and three other schools, I want to run. How would you pitch Michigan to me to convince me to come here for running and academics?”
“I could relate, because I was down to Michigan and a few other schools, and what really sold me was the academics here and just the history and the tradition of all the athletic programs—especially women’s cross-country in general, and with Mike McGuire being such a highly respected coach. To be an athlete under him, I knew I’d be able to reach my potential, and he’d be able to turn me from being an average high school runner to a pretty good collegiate runner. I’d tell a high school senior to look at the history and all the runners he’s coached and what he’s done.”
This Sunday, Sam Hartman is running the Foster Swift Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sam is running 13.1 miles for her sister, Sophie, who is trying to finalize the adoption of two girls—biological siblings and Sam’s nieces—in Zambia.
The adoption system is extremely corrupt in Zambia, and Sophie has been in this process for four years now, struggling in areas to continue on. Finances are the last thing Sophie wants to think about, but they are necessary for the continued fight of long-suffering.
Sam is taking pledges for each mile she runs on Sunday, and every dollar goes toward the adoptions. If you feel inclined and are able, help the Hartman family in this journey.
Check out the following links—even if you don’t know Sam. Fill a row in the spreadsheet to help support Sam and her half marathon, donate to the Sophie Hartman Adoption Fund and/or show some love at Sam’s half marathon Facebook page!
Help the Hartman family out, and keep spreading the running love!